Part #3 How to start a successful (or failing) Blog in 2013!

Part #1 is here
Part #2 is here
This (below) is Part #3

Ok, I know y’all are waiting with baited breath as to the report forthcoming after 3 weeks of taking over the Droneflyers blog – so I will start with the fun stuff (the charts!) and then detail how I got there and also what my predictions are for the next couple of months.

So, without further ado, here are our WordPress stats – click on the pic for the larger version!

Chart shows growth in 3 weeks since purchase

Chart shows growth in 3 weeks since purchase

I’m very pleased. Based on these statistics, the decision to purchase an existing blog (with some visitors) seems valid, as I doubt I would have ever been able to build things up this quickly. The stats are self-explanatory – more people came and read more pages and stayed longer! So, let’s get into some details so that YOU can figure out what may be best for your efforts……

One question which you may be asking yourself is “Well, I don’t know shit….so how the heck am I gonna be able to find and buy a blog or domain which get’s some visitors….you know, like Craig did?”.

A valid question. However, there are many sites where people are selling domains and chances are that you can find one to buy for a very reasonable price which may be related to your subject. Here are some places you can buy existing web sites:

https://flippa.com/
https://marketplace.digitalpoint.com/
and eBay!

There are various ways of confirming the statistics given by the domain sellers. You are welcome to email me for more details on this, but the basics are that any serious webmaster can give you direct access to their google stats so that you can see the figures without them having manipulated them. Some larger sites may have enough traffic to be verified by Quantcast – you can go to http://www.quantcast.com and type in the domain name (try it with hearth.com, etc.).

You could also check in the basic common sense ways! See if you can find the site by searching in google for the terms which are related to it! Notice whether article or forum posts on the site were written recently – or has it languished for years?

So what should you pay for a site? Obviously, as little as possible! For those starting “hobby” sites, you have to have a total budget and work within it. Because I am already in the web space…that is, I have income from existing properties, I can probably afford a bit more for my startup effort. I intend to spend approx $3K total in the first year for everything, from buying the site to advertising to giveaways, but it could be done with much less. Still, a total budget at or over $1,000 for the first year is probably an advantage in terms of quicker growth.

Let’s move on to how I was able to double the traffic within 2-3 weeks. Firstly, as I keep repeating, starting with SOME visitors is key to being able to do this. I cannot stress that enough – you are probably already sick of hearing it!

The next move is to make sure there is some newer content on the site. This may involve a couple hours of you adding and editing existing articles, changing the “about” section and contact info, etc.
There is no use spending time and money promoting a site which visitors will be disappointed with! As will be covered in later posts, Content is King. In fact, you should paste that phrase as a desktop background or print out a piece of paper and tape it to your wall! Content is King. Content is King. Content is King. Content is King.

Along with your initial remodeling, you should start a google account (if you don’t already have one) and install the google analytics tracking code on your site. This will allow precise measurement of your stats.

Your next step is to spend a small amount of money advertising. Don’t skip this step – it will cost you dearly. Come up with a budget…even if it’s $1 a day, to promote your site. Open up two accounts – one on Google Adwords and one on Bing Advertising and place your ads using keyword selection. These systems allow you to bid on relevant words and show your ads (text or graphic) to visitors who type them into a search engine. You only get charged when a visitor is actually sent to your site.

I set up google adwords with a small budget, around $2. daily, for the Droneflyers site. I bid very low for the visitors – maybe a maximum of 15 cents per. The graphic below shows my 3 week history with adwords:

Adwords Stats for Droneflyers

Adwords Stats for Droneflyers

To translate this – google showed my ad over 45,000 times (impressions) and sent 332 visitors to the Droneflyers.com web site – for a total expenditure of $37.02, or about $2 per day.

Why do I suggest you pay for advertising – even if your Blog or site is a hobby site with no income? My theory is that google and bing add some “weighting” to advertisers who appear on their site – not because they sell out for the $$$, but because the willingness to advertise a product shows that your site is a bit more serious and respectable (better for search results).

My prediction for the next couple of weeks? The growth will slow – I don’t expect traffic to double, but rather (hopefully) to maintain at the current level and rise slowly. I plan to officially launch the site and new forum on Apri 1 or thereabouts – at that point I will do some giveaways, PR and other efforts!

Well, it may be time to wrap up this post as I don’t want things to drone (pun intended) on for too long nor to present too much information and have some of it exit your ears after your brain fills up. Although my first intention was to finish up at Post#3, I will continue for at least another post. The next post will detail the free ways I used to build up traffic as well as some of my dilemas and predictions for the future of this failure…or successful….blog.

Quick Update – as of May, 2013 we are still experiencing rapid growth. The chart below shows the record upward growth – to well over 5,000 page views per week. Furthermore, the site has started to bring in some small revenues…more on that later!

Chart of Growth

Chart of Growth

Happy Blogging!

Craig

P.S. A fellow author and friend asked me WHY it was very important to increase traffic. My answer is as follows:

The key to the benefit in traffic is that it means you are not writing or forming a community for nothing. Being general here, but most people write or blog for one of two reasons – either to get “read” (the old author thing) or to get read and eventually make a buck. You cannot make ad or sponsorship money from a web site without having a ton of visitors. And, if you are an author, you are gonna feel bad if only 4 people read that tome you spent a couple years writing. So traffic=value. In a broader internet sense, you may want to check out the meaning of Metcafes Law – that is, the power of the network increases with the square of the user numbers (traffic!) or something like that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metcalfe’s_law

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